For the last few weeks, we’ve learned, over and over again, why the burqa must be banned. A visible face is, apparently, central to Western modernity (which is why, one imagines, that new-fangled device known as the telephone will never catch on). Besides, outlawing the burqa is a feminist cause – to preserve women’s right to wear what they want, we must legislate so they can’t wear what they want. Or something.
You’d think that that the anti-burqa crowd would cheer the victory of Lebanese born Rima Fakih in the Miss USA contest. That pageant requires entrants to parade in swimsuits as well as evenings gowns. Fakih is a Muslim woman prepared to show rather more than her face. Good news, right?
Well, not so much. Today, the wingnut blogs are abristle with outrage.
Take it away, Debbie Schussel.
It’s a sad day in America but a very predictable one, given the politically correct, Islamo-pandering climate in which we’re mired. The Hezbollah-supporting Shi’ite Muslim, Miss Michigan Rima Fakih–whose bid for the pageant was financed by an Islamic terrorist and immigration fraud perpetrator–won the Miss USA contest.
Schussel (a kind of low-rent Ann Coulter) links Fakih to Hezbollah largely on the basis that she was born in the ‘Hezbollah stronghold of Srifa in South Lebanon, which Israel was forced to attack in the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah war because it was a site of Hezbollah weaponry’. But she has also found a broader Muslim conspiracy, through which Hezbollah seeks to conquer the world, one beauty contest at a time.
Hezbollah has the chief USA bimbo. And they’ll use it. I don’t just wonder if this whole contest is rigged. I have a feeling that it is. Clearly, there is affirmative action for Muslim women in beauty pageants and other such “contests”.
Clearly, Schussel’s due for the jumper with wraparound sleeves. But she’s not alone.
Compare Daniel Pipes, one of the mostly widely quoted conservative writers on Islam, a regular columnist for the Australian, and someone who sees the burka as ‘doing immense damage to male/female and Muslim/non-Muslim relations’. He, too, sniffs a Miss USA plot.
[T]his surprising frequency of Muslims winning beauty pageants makes me suspect an odd form of affirmative action.
Pipes, in some respects, goes further than Schussel, for in an addendum to his original post, he suggests that – wait for it! – the Nobel Prize might have suffered similar corruption.
This outbreak of craziness is trivial in itself, except that it illustrates the ongoing pathologisation of Islamophobia. Read Schussel’s piece again. If Muslims cover themselves entirely, they affront Western values. If they assimilate sufficiently to dance in strip clubs, they’re hiding their real agenda. Muslims’ politics can be determined from their relatives, with Islam now a biological rather than religious category; Muslims are clannish conspirators, who behind the scenes secretly control everything, pulling the strings to shape beauty contests and scientific awards alike.
Any of this seem familiar? What we are witnessing is the birth of an anti-Islam rhetoric that mimics, depressingly closely, the key tropes of twentieth-century anti-Semitism. It will not end well.